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The House of Ramen
The House of Ramen

Portland

Serving what you ate in college, if you went to college in a Japan invaded by fat Americans, The House of Ramen is a new downtown noodle house from two Japanese partners, rocking striking red and grey walls festooned with a rotating selection of local art, and offering a menu seeking to morph the traditional Japanese fare with elements familiar to stateside eaters, though how you deep-fry soup is anyone's guess.

Order Up: Customize your bowl from the broth up by choosing a spice level from 0-5, and picking one of three noodles (tip: don't go for the giant foam ones that're mad fun in pools). That's topped with meats including Cha Sui (Chinese BBQ pork), or your choice of two vegetables like crunchy/ chewy water chestnut-y kikurage, or bamboo shoots, although don’t worry, it has terrible aim, because it’s a tree.

Freak It: While House does traditional awesomeness like imported, deeply porky Tonkatsu broth, regular and light miso, and options like slow-poached eggs with soft whites and hard yolks, they also offer boundary-pushing ramens including a tomato broth described as a cross between cream of tomato & minestrone, and out-there oomph like cheddar cheese, jalapeno, and roast beef, which is usually Gilbert Gottfried and Lisa Lampanelli arguing about who wore it best. (Gilbert, duh.)

For those uncomfortable with making decisions, House is also happy to offer super-traditional chef's specials in either a pork or soy sauce broth, plus gyoza and mango Mochi ice cream that sports a soft rice-coated exterior -- which, while not fried, will likely be awesome when you are, you fat gaijin.

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1. The House of Ramen 223 SW Columbia, Portland, OR 97201

Serving what you ate in college, if you went to college in a Japan invaded by fat Americans, The House of Ramen is a new downtown noodle house from two Japanese partners, rocking striking red and grey walls festooned with a rotating selection of local art, and offering a menu seeking to morph the traditional Japanese fare with elements familiar to stateside eaters, though how you deep-fry soup is anyone's guess.

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